From 6-10 October, the 9th International Conference on Design & Emotion took place in Bogota, Colombia. As co-chair, I had the honour to open the conference on behalf of the organising committee and the Design & Emotion Society.

Please find below a transcript of the speech:

Opening ceremony Design & Emotion 2014 – The Colors of Care

Dear delegates, as co-chair and on behalf of the organising committee, I would like to welcome you to Bogota for this 9th edition of our conference. It gives me great pleasure to join you all here in this vibrant country, exciting city and most importantly, beautifully organised conference. Obviously, the road towards perfection is not always easy and most surely takes time. This path that we as the Design & Emotion Society shared with the local organisers started almost two years ago, November 2nd 2012 to be exact, when Javier Ricardo sent us a 14 pages long document, explaining why this event should take place in Colombia.

From that moment onwards we have been impressed by the ideas, creativity and perseverence of this group of marvelous people, who deserve to be thanked extensively.
I would like to mention Javier Ricardo and Fernando for taking the first important steps and initiative. Thanks to Jorge and Juan for joining the initiative from Medellin and Cali. And to Hernando for closing the conference in the arms of Los Andes. Also thanks to all the people from Los Andes that created the beautiful look and feel of the conference and have done the most amazing job in bringing it alive. Also, I would like to mention Angelica as workshop committee chair, Juan for being the force behind the program together with Pieter, and last but definitely not least to Paola and Margarita, the leading ladies of this conference. They have probably replied to a couple of thousand emails, skyped a hundred times and have put so much energy in this conference, that we can only hope they will get the same energy out of it, now that they have created something to be very proud of. We definitely are!

The past two days we have had workshops in Medellin and Cali, organised in close collaboration with universities Icesie and EAFIT, which was a challenge, but has been evenly significant for the feeling of being welcome that we have all experienced from Colombia as a whole. On top of this, in July/August a two week workshop was organised in which both Colombian and Dutch students took up on a social design challenge. The results of that workshop will be presented this afternoon.

Our theme: Colors of Care – Social Innovation

In this edition we have invited you, researchers and practitioners, to open up the discussion on design and emotion in the light of social innovation.

Our current age sees everything as an object of manufacture, something that can be got hold of and improved, or altered, to produce better or more effective outcomes. However, as social innovators and designers, we don’t design for the sake of designing, but we intend to design for a purpose.

In these times, events, threats and opportunities aren’t just coming at us faster or with less predictability, they are converging and influencing each other to create entirely new situations. These first-of-their-kind developments require a lot of creativity. In cities and local communities this becomes ever more evident, where initiatives are organised and created by the local communities in response to these rapid changes that established organisations are not able to respond to yet, or at least not fast enough. People once again are shifting from followers to creators and carers. It is this sense of caring that we as designers can be inspired by. And, in a time where technology is not the biggest challenge anymore, but rather the integration of this technology within communities, there are great opportunities for designers to give color to that care. Here, in Latin America, and specifically Colombia, these colors of care are ever more visible. And, therefore, there is no better place than here, in Bogota, to be inspired, share ideas, find opportunities and give color to care. Welcome to Design & Emotion, the colors of care.

I wish you all an amazing three days and look forward to see the energy that organising this event gave us reflected on you.